Joe Berg isn’t your traditional caregiver at the Good Samaritan Society in Moscow, Idaho. He’s not a nurse or CNA. He doesn’t work with residents in therapy and rehabilitation. Still, he’s upgrading the quality of life for those he serves every day.
“Joe is wonderful. He’s like family,” Fairview Village Estates resident Fauna Allen says. “He does incredible amounts of things, but he’ll stop and talk to you if you step outside and ask him questions. He’s just a good person.”
Neighbor Howard Beloit adds, "Our campus is beautiful, and he works so diligently keeping it that way.”
A lead groundskeeper for the Society, Joe maintains more than 12 pristine acres of land at Fairview. The independent living location features 32 twin homes and 28 apartments and is the sister campus of Good Samaritan Society – Moscow Village.
“Taking care of things is kind of in my blood. I enjoy it. Not so much at home but out here it works out pretty well,” Joe jokes.
'His work ethic is hard to come by'
He’s been “taking care of things” for residents for eight years in Moscow. Before that, Joe spent five years at a different Society location and 25 years in the construction industry.
“It’s the residents that I work for. That is why I’m here,” Joe says. “As long as they feel like this is home. For me, I like it when they smile or we can sit down and talk.”
On a typical day, he gets to work early to make coffee for early rising residents. Once he clocks in at 6 a.m., he starts checking items off his to-do list.
“His work ethic is hard to come by, really. He doesn’t leave until the job is done,” Ronda Styer, Society senior living supervisor, says.
“He exemplifies everything that an employee of Good Samaritan should be. He’s a hard worker, he is a great team member, and he loves the residents.”
National Ever Forward Employee Champion
Joe’s dedication to excellence is gaining him recognition as the Society’s National Ever Forward Employee Champion.
Society ancillary services manager Dana Van Laningham knows when Joe’s assigned a task, it will get done the right way.
“The ball will never be dropped. Joe always makes the dots connect. Extremely reliable, dependable, anything that a supervisor could ever ask for. Anything a resident could ever need, Joe has it. He does it,” Dana says.
It’s why three residents nominated Joe for the honor.
“I’m delighted that he won the award because he deserves it,” resident Deb Jeffery says.
Deb remembers calling Joe one day when several ducklings got stuck in a drain at the campus pond.
“He took off his shoes and socks because it was a hot summer day in Moscow, and he got in the pond. Felt around and rescued two or three,” Deb says. “Mama duck was clearly happy.
“I think he’s kind. He’s helpful and he cares about animals as well as the residents here at Fairview Village.”
So much so that he gives of his time freely when someone is in need.
“It makes you feel like you’re not just an old lady who needs somebody to talk to. It makes you feel he’s caring and compassionate and that you’re important,” Deb says.
'We're a small family'
Location administrator Jamie Berg, Joe’s wife with whom he shares six children and one granddaughter, says, “serving the residents and having them happy with him is really what makes him tick and keeps him going.”
“He’s really humble. He does not like to be called out for things, good or bad."
Getting an award for his efforts is appreciated but Joe is quick to deflect the attention.
“That’s all fine and dandy I guess but it’s not about me. It’s about the people I work for. Pure and simple and that’s the bottom line,” Joe says.
He considers the people he works for family and the community of Moscow, tight knit.
“That’s why we are out here. We’re a small family. Saturdays my daughter and I go to a farmers market in town. We see residents at the farmers market,” Joe says.
Jamie adds, “There really is a family feel to the Moscow campus and I just think it’s super special.”
As for the special spotlight Joe finds himself in, he doesn’t have time to dwell. Grass needs mowing and residents are probably patiently waiting for his assistance.
“I’m very grateful and you guys are fantastic. That’s about it. You want to go till my garden now or what?” Joe says with a laugh and one foot out the door.